Marketing a New Rock Band: Black Stone Cherry’s Lesson

Black Stone Cherry debutIn 2006, Black Stone Cherry was a Southern rock band who were simply hometown heroes playing the clubs in Edmonton, Kentucky.  One of the band members was semi-famous as the son of the rhythm guitarist in the Kentucky Headhunters (a highly successful bluegrass band in the 80’s).   But hard work paid off and Roadrunner Records offered them a record deal.   In fact, when Black Stone Cherry finally released their debut CD, they were invited to perform a special concert for a packed house (1500 people) at the local middle school to celebrate the band reaching “the big time”.   From these humble beginnings, Black Stone Cherry has now recorded four studio albums and have toured with the likes of Bad Company and the all-time legends, Lynyrd Skynyrd.   How did they go from the small clubs to arena tours?  What lesson can other new bands pick up when trying to breakthrough and get exposure like that?

“HELL OR HIGH WATER” Black Stone Cherry

Black Stone Cherry recognized the power of modern marketing.  Their debut single, “Lonely Train”, got picked up by the WWE and even added to their wrestling video game.   Imagine how many times, their song was heard playing the game.  If you looked quickly at their CD cover, you noticed a familiar homage to classic Ozzy-era Black Sabbath with their minimalistic photography and font. Then their label, Roadrunner Records, was brilliant and offered up some of their songs on a free iTunes digital sampler.   Like many people, this EP, “Hell & High Water” was actually my first exposure to the band.    It was only three tracks but each song was a 10 out of 10! I was hooked by their blend of modern rock with traditional Southern rock.

“BIG CITY NIGHTS” Black Stone Cherry

black stone cherry hell high waterThe EP kicked off with the catchy guitar-driven rocker title track that went on to become a future radio hit.    Track 2, “Big City Lights” is a big, epic masculine rocker with frequent time changes that will have you screaming along with BSC.    On the aggressive 3rd  Track, the band declared “We Are The Kings”.  They vehemently announced  they’re proud of their Kentucky heritage.  In 3:55, the band managed to name drop Elvis’ Cadillac, Peter Fonda’s motorcycle, Texas, and Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” and even ended the EP with a lightning fast Southern rock guitar guitar.


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